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Friday, October 8, 2010

Charlotte's Famers Markets Eliminates "Food Deserts" With Food Stamps

Charlotte Farmers Markets Trying To Take Food Stamps

They are called "Food Deserts", Charlotte neighborhoods where people have little or no access to fresh produce and other healthy groceries.

But a new farmers market in South End is trying provide an oasis for those food deserts.

The Atherton Mill Farmers Market just decided to open more days and more hours because there’s been such a demand.

“I like to buy local produce and meat and this is the only farmers market that carries all local stuff, so that's why I like to come here,” Patti Kelly says.

She lives nearby, in South End, just outside of uptown, a part of town a recent study called a food desert.

A food desert is an area where fresh produce is hard to find or hard to get to for the people in the neighborhood. The goal is to bring more farmers markets to Charlotte and make them accessible to everyone.

“We would be able to make fresh food available to record number of low income individuals in this area,” says Lynn Shanklin Caldwell, who runs the market.

Caldwell and the vendors are trying to get permission to take food stamps.

But it's a process; right now they're trying to get approval for a state grant.

“It would be great to keep food dollars in our local economy supporting local farmers, versus supporting big box grocery store,” Caldwell says.

It would also be great Kelly says, if everyone had equal access.

“Food loses its nutrients as it travels, knowing it came less than a few hundred miles from where you live is important.”

If you want to check out the Atherton Mills Market, they are located at 2104 South Boulevard in Charlotte and have new, extended hours.

Tuesday: 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

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Sources: WCNC,, Youtube, Google Maps

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